TV Review: Louie Season Three begins
This is a weird episode to start the season. It feels like a weaker middle-of-the-season toss off. It does, however, deliver something new for Louis CK: he's starting to play it safe. And that's hazardous for a comedian who's always fearlessly plunged into dangerous waters.
Louie is getting old and it sucks. In the show's opening setup Louie informs us, in his characteristically amiable yet miserabilist demeanor, that the bluntness of middle age is taking its toll on him.
Louie's first episode doesn't go for the jugular, though it concisely explicates its theme and succeeds as a reminder that there's nothing quite like it on television. But there's something off about "Something is Wrong." It feels comically tentative and CK's insights into aging are not fresh. When Louie straps on the motorcycle helmet and zooms down a city street, you already know where he's headed. When April returns to his apartment at the end to fetch her laptop and Louie tries for reconciliation, you know he'll be unwilling to convince her.
The show has always dealt with the vagaries of aging, but here it's too obvious. It beats you over the head that Louie is a middle-aged Charlie Brown, repeatedly having the football snatched away before he kicks it. Louis CK has a well-honed sense of narrative structure, much like Larry David, though now it feels too thought-out, too strangled by storytelling equilibrium. The great thing about the show, though, is that all of this could easily change by next week's episode. For all of his care devoted to the actual structure of leading us toward an emotional epiphany, Louis CK doesn't much care for story continuity between episodes. The ponderousness of Louie's ineffectualness could be tossed aside next week and replaced with a shinier, happier, more productive Louie.
Well, probably not.
|Louie Season 3 Teaser|